While Jazz Hardrict is in the hospital fighting for her life, she’s witnessing the very best, and worst, humanity has to offer.
The 13-year-old recently checked into UCSG Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland in California for a stem cell transplant to cure her deadly sickle cell anemia. Knowing she’d be hospitalized for several months, the teen packed her laptop and tablet into her backpack.
On the way to the hospital, her grandmother, Jan Hunter, made a stop. Moments later, someone broke her car window to steal Jazz’s Chromebook and iPad. Jazz and her family were heartbroken. Not only does Jazz rely on technology to keep up with her schoolwork, it’s also her only link to friends outside of the hospital. The 7th grader hasn’t been in school since January, so losing the computer and tablet meant she’d fall further behind socially and academically.
“It’s so unfair,” said Jazz. “It’s not OK.” Jan says her granddaughter “broke down crying” when she heard about the theft. They were both sad and angry that this happened at the worst possible time.
“My reading books, my pencils, my papers. Everything I need to be in the hospital is gone,” Jazz said sadly.
“Her journey is rough enough,” said Jan. “To lose all of her little items is unfair and sad.” The grandmother decided to reach out to their community for help finding the stolen items. She shared a cell phone video of Jazz doing physical therapy. “Please give my stuff back,” Jazz pleaded. “I need it. I’m in the hospital for a long time.”
After the local news covered her story, a good Samaritan named Mike Panico of Oakland, California contacted them. He’d seen the news report, and as a father-of-three, he understood how difficult Jazz’s situation was. He recalled being in the hospital for an infection when he was a kid, and knew technology would make those long, boring days pass much faster for Jazz.
Mike owns a local computer company, and each year he gives his employees a new backpack. He found an extra one in his storage closet, then had one of his MacBooks refurbished for the teen. He donated both to Jazz via the hospital along with a sweet note of support. Of course, he wants nothing in return except to see Jazz succeed!
Just look at the smile on Jazz’s face! What a kind gesture from a complete stranger. We’re so glad the ugliness of theft could be replaced by an act this beautiful.
Share this story to thank Mike for his kindness and wish Jazz a speedy recovery.
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